Dale Cobern

I was diagnosed with NF in November 2003. I had been sick for about a week with what I thought was the flu. I left work early on a Thursday morning because I was feeling quite ill. I slept most of the day Thursday and Friday. Saturday morning arrived and we were going to celebrate my youngest son's 6th birthday by BBQing with friends and family. My left leg had swollen considerably during the night and was quite hot to the touch. Remarkably I did not feel all that bad at this point, I just felt like I had a severe case of the flu. I did not want to ruin my son's birthday party so I debated about waiting to go to the doctor. Luckily I decided to go in. I thought they would give me some antibiotics and send me on my way. Once I arrived at the Sunnyvale Medical Clinic Urgent Care facility I was taken right away. After a brief examination the doctor told me that my heart rate was nearly twice what it should be and that it needed to be slowed right away. After a few attempts to slow my heart rate failed the doctor contacted El Camino Hospital and had me transferred. I was at El Camino for only a couple of hours before I was sent to Stanford Hospital. The last thing I remember was arriving at Stanford and answering the standard questions regarding my medical history. I did not wake up again until one week later. I found out that I had NF and that it had cause toxic shock to my system. Nearly every major organ failed. The doctors were frustrated because they knew what the problem was, but they could not stop the effect. Finally they paralyzed me and put me on life support. Surgery was performed to remove a section on the shin of my left leg along with a few smaller areas on my left calf. After surgery my doctors told my wife that I was the sickest person in the hospital and that if I had any family that she had better call them right away, because they did not expect me to survive. I remained in the hospital for 3 weeks total, 2 in ICU and 1 in recovery. I was barely able to walk or do much of anything once I came home, but after physical therapy and hard work I am pretty much back to normal. I had never heard of NF before this happened to me. I have been surprised to find out how many people have been affected by this disease. Needless to say I was lucky and I am here now to tell my tale. Thanks to the wonderful doctors and nurses all of the facilities that saw me in the first day throughout my hospitalization and thanks to the prayers of so many people. The one thing that I did get out of this whole experience is a better appreciation of the little things in life. I am enjoying my 4 children more now and I am a little less stressed about the curves that life throws my way. After all I am still here and that is the most important thing. Good luck and God bless to all of you.